The Centre is managed by a Board of Management working closely with an International Advisory Board.
Executive Director & Board Secretary: Dr Alex Grech
Chair: Professor John Portelli
Professor Godfrey Baldacchino
Alex Grech is a strategist, change consultant and academic. He has advised multinationals, governments, NGOs and startups in sectors ranging from ICT and neurosciences to culture and education. Alex is a specialist in digital education policy, 21st century skills agendas and lifelong learning and is an expert on the ET2020 working group on digital education and a member of the European Commission’s Blockchain Observatory & Forum. Alex teaches new media at the University of Malta within the Faculty of Media & Knowledge Sciences, with research interests in blockchain, digital citizenship, social media and power. He holds a PhD in Internet Computing from the University of Hull and is an FCCA by profession.
John P. Portelli was born in Malta where, after completing a B.A. (Philosophy & Maltese, 1975), he taught history and modern languages at a secondary school and philosophy at a sixth form. In 1977 he was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and commenced his studies at McGill University from where he obtained an M.A. (1979) and a Ph.D. (1984). Currently he is a professor in the Department of Social Justice Education, and the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at OISE, University of Toronto. He is Co-director of the Centre for Leadership and Diversity and a fellow of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto.
Godfrey Baladacchino (PhD Warwick) is Pro-Rector for International Development & Quality Assurance and Professor of Sociology at the University of Malta, Malta; UNESCO co-Chair (Island Studies and Sustainability), University of Prince Edward Island, Canada; President, International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA); and Chair of the Scientific Board of RETI: the network of island universities. He is (co)author or (co)editor of 40 books and monographs, plus some 130 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters.
George Borg started his career in the Education sector as a teacher in Primary schools as well as in Special Schools. He held various managerial positions within the Education Directorates namely Head of School, Principal Education Officer, Assistant Director, College Network Coordinator, Director Student Services and Director General (Educational Services). He has a first Degree in Education and a Post-Graduate Diploma in the Education of Children with Special Educational Needs from the University of Malta and a Masters Degree in Education (Special Educational Needs) from the University of Aberdeen. George was pivotal in the reforms in favour of learners with diverse needs that have occurred in Malta over the past twenty years. He has been the Ministry’s representative Board member of the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education and on the Commonwealth of Learning.
Joe Cauchi taught English and Communication skills at post-secondary institutions, and has extensive experience in both vocational and academic education. He has an honours degree in English, diplomas in teaching and school management and and M.ed. He served as executive secretary of the National Council for Education in 1996-98, and since then has taken a very active interest in disability studies, perhaps because he is now visually impaired himself. He is president of an N.G.O for the Visually impaired specialising in Assistive Devices and is now heading an Erasmus project on the education of visually impaired students. He has participated in developing national strategies with regard to post-secondary education and Disability and Education.
Frederick Schembri is the President of the Board of Governors of Malta’s Vocational College University, MCAST. He is the founder and managing director of Aurobindo, a pharmaceutical company listed on the ISEX stock exchange. Frederick is an expert on integrated global supply chain initiatives and the catalyst of five pharmaceutical start-ups, including two in India and China. He has developed supply chain strategies for disaster relief and humanitarian aid programs, predominantly in sub-Sahara African regions, funded by institutions such as UNICEF, WHO, Red-Cross, Red Crescent, MSF, and IDA.
Professor Asha S. Kanwar (Chair of the Advisory Board)
Professor John Domingue
Dr Cable Green
Dr Alek Tarkowski
Mme. Sophie Touzé
Dr Balaji Venkataraman
Asha Singh Kanwar is one of the world’s leading advocates for learning for development. She became President & Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) on 1 June 2012. Prior to joining COL, Professor Kanwar was a consultant in open and distance learning at UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in Africa (BREDA) in Dakar, Senegal. Professor Kanwar’s engagement with distance education began when she joined Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) as a Reader in 1988, eventually becoming Pro-Vice Chancellor in 1991. In addition to the publication of several books, research papers and articles, Professor Kanwar has made significant contributions to gender studies, especially the impact of distance education on the lives of Asian women. These studies have established that better educational opportunities and access to new technologies have made substantial differences to the attitudes, values and concerns of Asian women. Professor Kanwar received her undergraduate, Master’s and MPhil degrees from the Panjab University in India and was awarded a scholarship for a DPhil programme at the University of Sussex, completed in 1986. She was also a Fulbright Fellow for post-doctoral research at Iowa State University, where she was later invited to teach, and was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Leiden, the University of Toronto and the Open University of Hong Kong. Professor Kanwar received the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Prize of Excellence in 2009.
Cable Green is the Director Open Education at Creative Commons. Cable works with the global open education community and governments to leverage open licensing, open content, and open policies to significantly improve access to quality, affordable, education and research resources so everyone in the world can attain all the education they desire. He’s a leading advocate for open licensing policies that ensure publicly funded education materials are open by default.
Alek Tarkowski is a sociologist, copyright reform advocate and researcher of digital society. Co-founder and President of Centrum Cyfrowe Foundation, a think-and-do tank building a digital civic society in Poland. Alek is the Public Lead of Creative Commons Poland and European Policy Fellow with Creative Commons and co-founder of Communia, a European advocacy association supporting the digital public domain, and of the Polish Coalition for Open Education (KOED). In 2016-2017 he served as co-chair of the global strategy process for the Creative Commons Network. Formerly member of the Polish Board of Digitisation, an advisory body to the Minister of Digitisation (2011-2016), and member of the Board of Strategic Advisors to the Prime Minister of Poland (2008-2011), responsible for issues related to the development of digital society. Policy expert on open content and copyright policies, open and digital education, and digital skills. For over a decade involved in building a digital commons and public domain in Poland and abroad. Author of “Alfabet nowej kultury i inne teksty” [The Alphabet of New Culture and Other Texts], a collection of essays written together with Mirosław Filiciak. Sociologist of new media, obtained PhD in sociology from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Science. His research interests include new models of cooperation, production and distribution of digital goods, digital policy and digital literacy.
Sophie Touzé is the Head of Innovation and Digital Transformation at VetAgro Sup, Institute of higher education in food science, animal health, agricultural and environmental sciences, France. Mme. Touzé also serves as an expert in Digital Education and Pedagogy for the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and has served as an expert and author for UNESCO. She recently completed a term as Vice President of the OEC Board from 2015 to 2017. As an expert on Innovation and Digital, Sophie Touzé has over 20 years of experience advising teachers, institutes and governments on pedagogical scenarios integrating new technologies. She received awards for pedagogical innovation and educational impact in 2004, 2007 and 2009.
Venkataraman Balaji is a specialist in the area of Information and Communication Technology applied to rural development. His work at COL in applied technology focuses on testing new models and practices in technology-mediated outreach that can be deployed in support of learning at all levels. His current work in COL is on MOOCs and on Aptus. He also oversees work on the Directory of Open Educational Resources. In addition to his regular responsibilities at COL for oversight of IT and Knowledge Services functions, Balaji is closely associated with planning and organization of the Pan Commowealth Forum. He has had a long association with applications of Knowledge Management and IT in agriculture, especially in extension and maintains that interest through MOOCs.
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